Jollof Rice is one of the most popular food delicacies in Nigeria. However, it is not only Nigerians that consume Jollof Rice. Other African countries have their respective variants of Jollof rice; for example, in Ghana, there is the Ghanaian Jollof Rice, in Liberia there’s the Liberian Jollof Rice, and a few others across the continent. Even here in Nigeria, we have local variants like Party Jollof Rice, Minced-Beef Jollof Rice, Leafy Jollof Rice, Jollof Rice and Beans, Vegetable Jollof Rice, and a few local variants.
In Nigeria, the best is the Party Jollof Rice. This post outlines the recipe for any variant of Nigerian Jollof Rice. Feel free to tweak it to suit your taste.
The recipe is in two parts. The first part outlines the various ingredients needed for Jollof rice; while the second part discusses the methodology.
Ingredients for Jollof Rice
- Three cups of long grain rice
- Two tins of tomato puree
- Two to three cups of tomato stew. If tomato stew is not available, then you can get four big-sized tomatoes, four fresh red peppers, and two scotch bonnet peppers instead.
- Chicken, Turkey or fish (as preferred)
- Vegetable oil
- Ground pepper
- Salt to taste
- Two medium-sized onions
- Three seasoning cubes
- One teaspoonful of Thyme
- One teaspoonful of Curry powder
- Bay leaves (optional)
- First wash and dice your onions properly
- If you are using chicken, or fish, or turkey, wash it thoroughly first. Afterwards, cut it into small/medium-sized pieces – depending on your preferences. Afterwards, boil it for a few minutes with some of the diced onions, thyme and curry powder. This serves two purposes: firstly, you have the chicken or fish stock to use for the cooking of the rice; and two, it makes the food sweeter and the meat/fish more presentable and delicious – especially if you choose to grill or fry it afterwards.
- Once you have your chicken or fish stock, keep it aside, and prepare your tomato stew. If you can, try to prepare and store your tomato stew ahead of time, as it will save you time and energy. However, if not, you can prepare your fresh tomato stew following the steps below:
- Rinse your tomatoes, peppers, and onions properly.
- Cut them into smaller pieces, and blend finely in an electronic blender.
- Avoid using the manual blender, as it doesn’t give a smooth stew.
- There you have your stew. Keep aside and proceed to the next stage.
- Finally, as part of the pre-cooking preparations, ensure that you parboil your rice. Parboiling helps to reduce the amount of starch that is in the rice grains. To parboil your rice, simply pour the rice into a pot of water, and allow to boil for a few minutes. Afterwards, drain the water away using a sieve, to give you your parboiled rice.
- Pour hot oil into a medium-sized pot and heat it up for a few seconds.
- Add some diced onions, and a pinch of salt. Allow to fry until the onion begins to turn golden.
- Add your tomato paste, curry powder, bay leaves and thyme to the frying pan, and stir-fry for a minute or two. The aroma should begin permeating the airspace as you fry.
- Now add your blended tomato stew, or the other one you provided. Stir it properly and allow the mixture to cook for a few minutes.
- Afterwards, introduce the chicken or fish stock you kept earlier. Stir the mixture with a spoon and leave to boil for a few minutes.
- Now, add your seasoning cubes, and stir.
- Then, pour in your parboiled rice to this mixture. Add the remaining curry powder, thyme, pepper and salt to the mix. Avoid stirring vigorously.
- If the water level of the mixture is too small, add a little water, or stock instead. The rice and the water must be at the same level during cooking.
- After this is set, cover the pot and allow the rice to cook for twenty minutes. Cooking with medium heat is highly recommended.
- Occasionally taste for salt and pepper, and check for water. It will become soggy if the water is remaining by the time the rice is ready.
Jollof Rice can be accompanied by a wide variety of condiments and ‘accessories’, especially in Nigeria. When your Jollof Rice is ready, you can choose to serve it with any or all of the following:
- Fried plantain
- Fried chicken, fried turkey or fried fish
- Boiled eggs
- Cole slaw
- Peppered fish
- Egg sauce
You could even decide to serve it plain; that is, without any of these accessories; just the same way many students, bachelors and even families do.
This recipe is for the traditional Nigerian Jollof rice. There may be slight differences in some cases and in some parts of the country, as it is not all the ingredients that are fancied by everyone. For instance, some people detest the use of bay leaves, while others do not actually parboil the rice before cooking.
Whatever the method and preferences, you will eventually arrive at any of the known variants of Jollof Rice. The only exception to this would be the Party Jollof Rice. The preparation of party Jollof is slightly different from the other types. Firstly, what makes up party Jollof? It’s basically the ‘smoky’ party taste that it has, due to being cooked over an open fire-wood fire at parties. The good news is that you do not have to wait till you attend parties before you eat party jollof. You can prepare it right here you are!
To prepare party jollof with your stove or gas cooker, simply follow the instructions given above to the letter. When the rice is ready, do not take it off the fire yet. Just increase the intensity of the heat of the stove or gas flame and leave the rice still on the fire for a few minutes, with the pot firmly covered. Naturally you should begin to hear the crackling sounds of the rice grains burning. The burnt rice grains add this smoked aroma and taste to the food, giving you an improvised party jollof! Turn off the heat and serve as you wish.
It’s that simple. Afterwards, you can proceed to serve with whatever accessories you have available.